Sign in or
|W | Player Pics | Lisbon Lions | A-Z of Players|
PersonalFullname: William Semple Brown Wallace
aka: Willie Wallace, Wispy
Born: 23 June 1940
Birthplace: Kirkintilloch, Scotland
Signed: 6 December 1966 from Hearts
Left: 19 October 1971 to Crystal Palace
Position: Inside right/striker
First game: Motherwell home 4-2 league 10 December 1966
Last game: Saint Mirren Hampden 3-0 League Cup semi final 6 October 1971
First goal: Partick Thistle home 6-2 league 17 December 1966
Last goal: BK 1903 Copenhagen 3-0 European Cup 29 September 1971
International Caps: 7 caps
International Goals: 0 goals
BiogWilliam Semple Brown Wallace, “Wispy” to his mates, (because of his quiet speaking voice) was born in Kirkintilloch on 23rd June, 1940.
He began his senior football career with Stenhousemuir in 1958 as a “Sawdust-in-my-boots winger”, as he put it himself, and moved to Raith Rovers in October 1959. He soon attracted the attention of Hearts, and he joined the very successful Tynecastle club in 1961.
Willie spent five full seasons with Hearts, winning a League Cup winner’s medal in October 1962 as Hearts beat Kilmarnock 1-0 in the final, and he was in the Hearts team who lost the league on goal average to Killie in 1965. Wispy won seven caps for Scotland. He faced England in two rip-roaring games; England won 4-3 at Hampden in 1966, and Scotland won 3-2 at Wembley in 1967.
Willie was keen to move away from Hearts, and Rangers were known to be interested. Then, on December 6, with Rangers in Germany in the ECWC, Jock Stein struck and Willie signed for Celtic for a club record £30,000. Stein was delighted and stated that Celtic had signed a one man forward line who could play in any of the five forward positions and also, on occasions, at right half.
Willie made his Celtic debut against Motherwell on Saturday, 10th December, but didn't score in Celtic’s 4-2 win. Willie scored two in his second game, a 6-2 home win against Partick Thistle, including a 20 yard rocket half-volley that nearly took the net off. That type of ferocious shooting was a Wallace trademark, and he ended the 1966-67 season with 21 goals from 29 appearances (21 League, 5 Scottish Cup, and 3 European Cup). Stein had intended to partner Willie with Joe McBride but after Joe's bad knee injury at PIttodrie on Christmas eve 1966 Willie eventually struck up a successful partnership with Steve Chalmers.
Willie scored both goals in the 2-0 Scottish Cup Final win over Aberdeen at Hampden, and, perhaps more importantly, scored two goals in the vital 3-1 European Cup semi-final first leg win over Dukla Prague. Add this to his appearance in Lisbon and Willie Wallace had become a Celtic legend in the space of six months. For the next five years Willie was to become Celtic's most prolific striker. As well as being a natural goalscorer he could also create and was a fine competitor, having an aggressive streak in him that was put to good use on many occasions.
Celtic good boast that they were one of the best teams in the world in the years between 1966 and 1970 and Willie played a part in all the success that came down Parkhead way. He scored a magnificent long range effort in Belgrade in November of 1968 to salvage a 1-1 draw and scored vital goals against Benfica and Fiorentina on the road to the 1970 European Cup final in Milan. His experience was invaluable in the semi finals against Leeds although it led to ultimate disappointment in the final against Feyenoord.
He had a wonderful record against Rangers and he had an impressive scoring record against them, where his combative abilities were always put to good use, particularly in the rough house atmosphere of the 1969 Scottish Cup final which Celts won 4-0. Although not tall he was wonderful in the air and scored many headed goals. However he was most noted for his shooting and was capable of scoring from the 25-35 yards range with both feet on a consistent basis.
By the summer of 1971 Willie now had stiff competition from the likes of Harry Hood, Lou Macari and Kenny Dalglish and Willie was said to have been good at nurturing the youngsters that Stein would occasionally throw into the first team. He was at centre forward in the 1-1 draw against Rangers in the Scottish Cup final in 1971 although he dropped to the bench for the replay at the expense of Lou Macari and Celtic won 2-1.
After Celtic sensationally lost 2-1 to 1903 Copenhagen in September 1971, it was Willie who saved the day at Parkhead with two goals in a 3-0 win. A few weeks later Willie moved to Crystal Palace with John Hughes in a £50,000 deal and Willie is on record as saying he did not want to leave. Stein would later confess in later years that he had been hasty in off loading him and that he still had good years left in him.
Willie was an amazingly prolific goal scorer, and scored 134 goals, in all competitions for Celtic, in 235 first team appearances. He was top scorer in seasons 1968-69 and 69-70. Willie returned to Scotland with Dumbarton in 1973 and played several games at Parkhead where he was given a rapturous reception by the Celtic fans who still loved him, every time.
Surprisingly for such a great prolific striker with Celtic, he was poor in the handful of games with Scotland, not netting once in 7 caps although he was in the victorious Wembley side in 1967 who defeated World Champions England.
Willie now lives in Australia and is always given a rapturous welcome at Parkhead where he will forever be remembered as a Celtic great.
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with Celtic [needs all checked]European Cup
QuotesYou took the long route to Celtic, playing at clubs through the divisions. Did you feel that helped you evolve into a better player by the time you arrived in Paradise?
I was never at a bad club. At Stenhousemuir, I had the benefit of playing with older players who had played at a higher level and were on the way back down and it was a bit the same with Raith Rovers. It was a learning curve for me. At Raith, I played with Jim Baxter and there was always good information and help from the older players. You were never cast aside as you were a newcomer – you were looked after. That was the first club where I ever had a coach. There was a wee fellow called Jackie Stewart, who had returned from Birmingham and he would work with the boys in the afternoons. He was the first coach I ever had. I went from being an outside-right to playing through the middle and up-front, then I started scoring goals on a regular basis and it was just a gradual climb. But I had no thoughts, no dreams. I wasn’t thinking this is where I am going and this is how I am going to do it – it just happened. Again, people will ask me what did I think as a boy – did I want to be a player? It never crossed my mind – it just happened as other things in my career happened for me. If someone says alright we are going to sell you, I went, as I thought people didn’t want me there anymore. The same thing happened when I left Celtic. I thought they must want rid of me when they got a bid from Crystal Palace and they accepted it – but that’s how my career had been.
At Hearts, you established yourself as one of the best goalscorers in the Scottish game and won international recognition. Was that another important part in your progression?
They had won the league a coupe of years before, had played in Europe and they were in the process of rebuilding the club. So it was a good time. And a good friend of Jock Stein was John Harvey, who was the coach at Hearts at that time. He was a fantastic man to work with – just the same as Jock. He and Jock actually worked together at Scotland the first time Jock took the Scotland job. He was a lovely man and did a lot for me as a player. He was a similar type of guy to Jock. He would come and talk to you and not give any long speeches and just tell you little things you were doing wrong or if you were finding it hard on occasions and not playing well, he would just give you a few words and it would work well for you.
You scored frequently against Celtic at Tynecastle. Do you think that helped engineer your move to the Hoops?
I was just talking with someone recently about this. I never had a problem scoring against Celtic or Rangers for any of the clubs I played for. I don’t know how it is or how it happens but it just seemed to happen for me. It wasn’t natural but I always found myself in the right positions to score and as you improve over the years it got easier to score. But, of course, scoring against Celtic helped my move. They had to play us on the Saturday after coming back from playing in Europe and we beat them 3-2 and I scored a couple of goals and that obviously must have stuck on Jock’s mind. I was doing alright at the time: I was scoring goals regularly and was top goalscorer every year I was at Tynecastle. I had already spoken to Newcastle and Stoke City and had been trying to get away for a year-and-a-half. The Celtic thing came out of the blue but it happened in a natural way – it just happened.
AnecdoteStory taken from John Cairney's new book on his love of Celtic - 'The Sevenpenny Gate'.
Horse racing punters will appreciate Ken Smith’s piece in his diary in The Herald on a tale from Scots actor, John Cairney’s just published book about his lifelong love affair with Celtic FC:
The Sevenpenny Gate. Cairney recalls being Celtic’s celebrity team member on BBC sports quiz, Quizball. There were graduates on the Celtic team, but Willie Wallace [former Celtic and Scotland star] had to make up the numbers after someone called off.
Wrote Cairney: “'Wispy' hadn’t opened his mouth, so we arranged to leave one question to him. It was: ‘Who or what is a Garryowen?' “We all knew it was a kick in rugby, but looked at Wispy to respond.
“He gulped, pressed his buzzer, and whispered tentatively: ‘The racing correspondent of the Daily Record?’"
Garry Owen, of course, being a tipster on the Record ...
By David Potter (from KeepTheFaith website)
Celtic author and historian, David W Potter, reminisces about a player that did successfully move from Hearts to The Hoops (presumably because The Pieman wasn't around Tynecastle in the 1960s). This player went on to become a Lisbon Lion and Celtic Legend. This player is Willie ‘Wispy' Wallace.
David Potter writes of Willie Wallace, Lisbon Lion and Celtic Legend.
William Semple Brown Wallace (hence the nickname Wispy because of the initials W.S.B.) was born in Kirkintilloch on June 23rd 1940 , at the depth of the Second World War. Indeed it would be hard to imagine a more desperate time in the history of the Western World, for France had surrendered the day before to the Germans. Britain herself had managed by the skin of her teeth to get her BEF back from Dunkirk a few weeks previously, and was now girding herself up for the inevitable invasion. Yet Mr. and Mrs. Wallace gave their son the name of a famous Scottish patriot, and fortunately Spitfires and D-Day saved the young Willie Wallace for posterity.
Being brought up in Kirkintilloch, and of a non-Catholic family, it was inevitable that Willie would support Rangers. But he was far more interested in playing the game and he very soon developed into a speedy forward with an eye for goal and strength in his shoulders to ward off fierce challenges.
His junior team was Kilsyth Rangers, and he turned senior for Stenhousemuir in January 1958. Stenhousemuir were in the Second Division, usually a poorish side, but in October 1959 he moved up the ladder by signing as a part time professional for Raith Rovers, a First Divison side, albeit now a struggling one. He played well enough there, particularly against Hearts. So much so that Tommy Walker offered Wallace full time terms on April 25th 1961 , round about the same time as the Bay of Pigs fiasco of an American invasion of Cuba , and Celtic's tragic defeat in the Scottish Cup Final to Jock Stein's Dunfermline .
Wallace impressed everyone at Hearts, but Hearts had had their day. True, they did win the League Cup in October 1962 (at about the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis), but the great days of Conn , Bauld and Wardhaugh were now slipping into the distant past. Hearts were still a good match for Celtic, tending to win at Tynecastle but lose at Parkhead, yet their moment came and went on the same day that Celtic beat Dunfermline to win the Scottish Cup on April 24th 1965. Hearts had only to prevent Kilmarnock from winning 2-0 at Tynecastle to win the Championship. But 2-0 for Killie was the score. It was a pivotal day in Scottish history. It marked the arrival of Celtic and the collapse (for more than 30 years) of Hearts.
Wallace, although still a hero with the Tynecastle fans, was now disillusioned and there was little doubt that, as both Celtic and Rangers fancied him, he might move on to one or other of the big clubs or even to England.
He had the speed, the strength and a certain amount of aggression. Crucially he could score goals, but with Jock Stein having signed Joe McBride to supplement the already impressive Lennox , Chalmers and Hughes, it looked as if any opportunity of going to Celtic might have disappeared.
Yet Jock Stein was mightily impressed by Wallace in a 3-3 Scottish Cup Quarter Final game in March at Tynecastle in which Wallace score the first goal, and so the summer of 1966 was alive with rumours of a possible transfer. But the season started with Celtic at Tynecastle in the pouring rain and Wallace still with Hearts. In fact Hearts had lost three times to Celtic by the time that Stein acted.
Taking advantage of the fact that Rangers were in Germany on European business in early December, Stein pounced and signed Willie Wallace for 30,000 pounds - a bargain price, greedily accepted by a Hearts management well on the way to bankruptcy through a determination to disillusion their supporters.
Willie played his debut for Celtic on December 10 th 1966 , didn't score, but played well enough for some supporters to display a banner, "Oor Wullie".
Wallace was a phenomenal and instant success at Celtic Park . Stein saw in him the model professional who trained hard, was a good influence in the dressing room and obeyed instructions. Occasionally, his exuberance got the better of him, and on at least two occasions Wispy got an early bath thanks (in part) to over-zealous referees, but there was little to complain about in his attitude to Stein or the club.
In fact, he had less competition for a place than he might have expected, for sadly Joe McBride was injured on Xmas Eve 1966 at Pittodrie in a 1-1 draw and took a long time to come back, never quite being the same player again.
Wallace immediately slotted into the role of twin striker along with Stevie Chalmers, although the essential strength of the Celtic system in that glorious year of 1967 lay in its very fluidity. Sometimes, Wallace lay behind Chalmers - other times he was up there scoring the goals, notably in the First Leg of the European Cup Semi Final in April 1967, when he scored two goals early in the second half and was denied a hat trick only by hard luck. In the Second Leg in Prague , a grim backs to the wall experience, Wallace was a brilliant cover defender.
Indeed April 1967 was a great month for Wallace. He played for Scotland in that epic 3-2 Wembley win over England (he had already three Scotland caps when with Hearts and would earn seven in all), and then scored two goals for Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final win against Aberdeen . The second goal remains vividly in the memory. A great move down the right flank involving Craig and Johnstone, then Jimmy sends the ball across to Wallace, who was standing "like someone waiting for a bus", and in exactly the right position to hammer home. The recollection remains of the ball heading towards the packed green and white masses behind the goal and only stopped by the net before a hundred or so strangers landed on one's back in an orgy of celebration.
Lisbon came next. Willie didn't score, but was only prevented from doing so by bad luck, constantly harrying the Italian defence and earning deserved praise from the world's media. The lorry going round Celtic Park the following night, showing the big, beautifully ugly European Cup to the risen people, contained Willie Wallace, supporter's hat on, singing the supporters' songs and thanking Providence that a career, which was seeming to stagnate at Hearts about a year previously, had been so gloriously propelled to triumph.
For the next four years, Wallace remained almost a permanent fixture in the Celtic side, taking part in the triumphs and the odd disaster (Argentina in 1967 and Milan in 1970 spring to mind), always retaining the respect and admiration of his fans and teaming up so brilliantly with men like Lennox, Chalmers, McBride and Hood, who in other circumstances might have been seen as rivals for his place in the team.
He was very much a team man, and all in all won 5 League medals, three Scottish Cup medals and two League Cup medals with Celtic.
He left for Crystal Palace with John Hughes in October 1971, when quite a few supporters thought that he still had a certain amount of football left in him. But Stein was bringing on youngsters like Dalglish and Connelly, and felt that Wallace could be released.
The suspicion remains that the now prickly Stein and Wallace fell out about something. Whether that is true or not, it is certainly true that Willie's career was now on the downward slope, although he did return to play for Dumbarton along with ex-Celt Charlie Gallagher and ex-Ranger Davie Wilson between 1972 and 1975.
Willie Wallace was a Coach with Ross County and Dundee before emigrating to Australia to play for a team called Apia and to set up a sports business. But like many another Celt, he will always be Willie Wallace of Celtic.
Oor Wullie, indeed, and perhaps an even greater man than the old foe of Edward 1 of England who bears the same name. Those of us who saw him play for Celtic will never forget him.
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, May 11 2013, 4:26 AM EDT
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
13 words added
- complete history)
More Info: links to this page
|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|Flynn||Willie Wallace - The Quiet Man||0||Oct 21 2006, 4:14 PM EDT by Flynn|
Thread started: Oct 21 2006, 4:14 PM EDT Watch
William Semple Brown Wallace, “Wispy” to his mates, (because of his quiet speaking voice) was born in Kirkintilloch on 23rd June, 1940. He began his senior football career with Stenhousemuir in 1958 as a “Sawdust-in-my-boots winger”, as he put it himself, and moved to Raith Rovers in October 1959. He soon attracted the attention of Hearts, and he joined the very successful Tynecastle club in 1961. Willie spent five full seasons with Hearts, winning a League Cup winner’s medal in October 1962 as Hearts beat Kilmarnock 1-0 in the final, and he was in the Hearts team who lost the league on goal average to Killie in 1965. Wispy won seven caps for Scotland. He faced England in two rip-roaring games; England won 4-3 at Hampden in 1966, and Scotland won 3-2 at Wembley in 1967. Willie was keen to move away from Hearts, and Rangers were known to be interested. Then, on December 6, with Rangers in Germany in the ECWC, Jock Stein struck and Willie signed for Celtic.
Willie made his Celtic debut against Motherwell on Saturday, 10th December, but didn't score in Celtic’s 4-2 win.
Willie scored two in his second game, a 6-2 home win against Partick Thistle, including a 20 yard rocket half-volley that nearly took the net off. That type of ferocious shooting was a Wallace trademark, and he ended the 1966-67 season with 21 goals from 29 appearances (21 League, 5 Scottish Cup, and 3 European Cup). Of course, he scored both goals in the 2-0 Scottish Cup Final win over Aberdeen at Hampden, and, perhaps more importantly, scored two goals in the vital 3-1 European Cup semi-final first leg win over Dukla Prague.
Over the next five seasons, Willie scored 134 goals in all competitions for Celtic, in 235 first team appearances. He was top scorer in seasons 1968-69 and 69-70. In October 1971, after a fall-out with Jock Stein, Willie and John Hughes were transferred to Crystal Palace for a joint fee of £50,000. Palace got a bargain!
Willie now lives in Australia.
Showing 1 of 1 threads for this page